Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Have You Ever Waited For Someone?

Philippians 3:20

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave you ever waited for someone? I remember – when I was a child – going on home visits with my parents. Dad was – of course – a pastor – and he and mom would go visiting from time-to-time and take me along (my sister too I guess). They would talk way into the night – or so it seemed. I remember – some through memory and some through stories and pictures – waiting for them to be ready to leave. Often – I would curl up somewhere and go to sleep. They told me I fell asleep under a coffee table – in a chest with blankets – and in other places as well. I guess I would tire of waiting for them and took it upon myself to know it was time for me to go to sleep. Do you like waiting for people?

Have you ever waited for someone? I remember – when I was first married – going shopping with my bride. She would go into a section of the store and I would find a seat nearby and wait. She might come out and say – do you like this – or – how do I look in this? I learned fast the correct answer (you’ll need to come for counseling – young men – to learn that answer). Soon – I learned to wait in the car where I could take a nap. I loved taking naps! Do you like waiting for people? Continue reading

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October 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Straining Toward What Is Ahead Of Us

Philippians 3:13

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOne of the biggest issues most of us face is forgetting the past and straining toward the future – what is ahead of us. Some of us tend to live in the past and the past – most often – will only hold us down and hold us back. Forgiving ourselves is often the problem – as we mentioned in Sunday’s sermon. Long after we have confessed our sin to God and repented (grieved and turned away) of them and God has offered grace and mercy we still tend to hang on to the guilt at times. Anyone with me this morning?

Paul was focused on being holy – being perfect – striving after Jesus with all in his power. In striving for perfection – he couldn’t – he wouldn’t – allow himself to dwell on past sin – having confessed it and repented of it – he was focused on the task ahead.

Satan wants us to dwell on our past sins. Satan wants to steal the joy of forgiveness – mercy – and grace. Satan wants us to live in guilt and without the freedom that comes from forgiveness. Continue reading

October 17, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Is Your Super Hero?

Psalm 42:8

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amI mentioned this before and I mention again – here. I grew up reading comic books. I had many first editions and full series. I enjoyed the ones that were mild mannered people in day-to-day life but when trouble arose – they would become super heroes. One of my favorites was mild mannered Clark Kent becoming Superman. I wouldn’t miss an episode and even today try to catch the old TV show when I can. I enjoyed reading Superman comic books and watching the TV show (1952-1958) (I probably remember the reruns more than the original airings since I was born in 1955 – but maybe some lasting memories from those early years). By the way – my brother was a fan of Batman!

I must admit – I don’t watch much TV these days – other than some really old shows (like The Adventures of Superman and The Andy Griffith Show) – sports and the news (you can guess which news program I watch the most). Some of the shows I tape and try to watch are the ones about super heroes. I like the supernatural! Continue reading

October 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seventy-Seven Times = Unlimited

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amSunday – our sermon was on forgiveness – as part of the Apostles’ Creed sermon series. We talked about how hard it is to forgive. We talked about how our forgiveness is tied to how we forgive others. So – here’s a question for us. How many times have we forgiven someone for the same thing? Do we have a limit to our forgiveness? Does this saying work for us – fool me once – shame on you – shame me twice – shame on me? How many times will we forgive someone?

Peter asked Jesus – how many times should we forgive someone? Seven was a number often used in the Bible to represent completeness – and Peter would have been OK – I think – if Jesus had said seven times. I imagine Peter had come close to that number on several occasions with people he dealt with on a daily basis. Have we come close to forgiving someone seven times? Would that be considered a lot of times?

Jesus’ answer might have blown Peter away. In the NIV – the translation of the answer from Jesus is seventy-seven (77) times. In KJV – it is interpreted to read – Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (490 times) Continue reading

October 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Being Watched!

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amWhat brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children). We now have five grandchildren with a sixth on the way (sooner rather than later we hope).

Another thing that would being a smile to my face would be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens or Washington Redskins (even a win would be great at times). Didn’t the Ravens play a great game yesterday? They have a two game lead in their division and the Redskins finally won a game. The Nationals are 2-0 in their playoff series. If they win two more games – they will be headed to the World Series. Now that will bring some smiles to area fans. If the Orioles could make improvement each year – that would bring a smile to our faces.

Still another reason to smile might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here (and truthful) and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Jesus Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight? Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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